07.08.2015 07:43 AM

Dear New Democrats who admire what Greece has done

Read this. 

In this sense, the Greek referendum delivered an insult to 18 countries, including some that are in situations no less difficult than Greece’s and yet have made considerable sacrifices to grant the country, in 2012 alone, €105-billion ($116-billion U.S.) in debt relief while remaining accountable to their own populations. What twist of the mind enables one to call that an “act of resistance” or the “defence of democracy”? Yet many have. 

Indeed, since Sunday’s referendum, many have acted as if Mr. Tsipras were the last euro zone democrat, as if he had faced a “totalitarian” clique (as described by far-right French politician Marine Le Pen) against which he valiantly “stood firm” (in the words of far-left French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon). I will not dwell on Mr. Tsipras’s parliamentary alliance with the conspiracy-minded, right-wing Independent Greeks, whose leaders do not shy away from diatribes against homosexuals, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims. Nor will I dwell on the fact that Mr. Tsipras did not refrain, when assembling parliamentary support for his referendum, from soliciting the support of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose help any other European leader would have rejected.

15 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    The CPC attack ad department must have had to check the calender to make sure it is indeed July 8th, not December 25th.

    They can get a whole lot of material from the NDP reaction to the Greek referendum while expending very little effort or cash.

  2. doconnor says:

    Association fallacy. It’s like Conservatives are separatists because the Bloc voted for the Accountability Act and their first budget.

  3. Christian says:

    Done. Now for the other side read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/opinion/paul-krugman-ending-greeces-bleeding.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

    And this: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/opinion/paul-krugman-greece-over-the-brink.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fpaul-krugman&contentCollection=opinion&action=click&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article

    Bottomline: Given the choices before them, what other option was there for the Greeks to do? They’d already endured years of austerity. It wasn’t working. In fact it was austerity that led to Syriza being elected in the first place (and could eventually lead to even more radical parties being elected in the future). Nobody in Europe it seems is bearing this in mind.

    • Bill says:

      Greece voting “No” is like a cancer patient saying the chemotherapy is making me too sick so I am going to stop the treatment and try something else even though I don’t have a clue what that is. Good luck with that.

      • Christian Giles says:

        I’d say it’s more accurate to say that the chemo isn’t working, the cancer is spreading and the patient is now opting for experimental treatments in hope of a miracle that will not likely come. Yes or no the patient is likely to die. But at least the yes gets them out of a treatment that clearly wasn’t working and if anything was doing more harm than good.

        • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

          No experimental treatments at all happening. All Tsipras is requesting is yet a THIRD bailout. Kicking the can further down the road from reality.

          • smelter rat says:

            Typical right wing nonsense. Obviously this is a complex issue that can’t be reduced to horseshit talking points.

          • Christian says:

            Sigh. I saw that. They should just do what Detroit did (what we allow any private corporation to do when it gets into trouble) – declare bankruptcy, get protection from creditors and then “restructure’ (aka: write off) their debts through a nice orderly, lenghty court process that doesn’t blow up the EU in the process (like the current path they and the rest of Europe are currently taking). Funny how we let private companies and (in the US) cities do this. But countries? Hell no!

  4. Kelly says:

    Not surprising that Liberals side with the wealthy at the expense of the poor. They pretend to be progressive by supporting things like equal marriage and human rights (which is good) but they are perfectly OK with homelessness, child poverty and third world conditions on reserves — all of which they exacerbated while in office. Phonies.

    Couple of quick facts.
    The wealthiest 10% of Greeks control almost all of the economy.
    Greece spends near double the European average on the military as a percentage of GDP.
    The Greek banks have been majority owned by the government since the 2008 collapse but the government has no voting rights — the banks are actually still controlled by a handful of oligarchs.
    The same oligarchs and their companies owe billions in taxes that they have simply refused to pay.
    Governments in Germany and France and the USA have bailed out the foreign creditors and transferred all the risk to taxpayers.
    Austerity has caused a liquidity crisis everywhere (not just Greece) and has simply failed. It’s junk economics. The countries that recovered after the crash used Keynesian methods.

    The “troika: — The european commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF — have demanded even more austerity in exchange for further loans so that Greece can pay it’s — wait for it — loans. They are demanding cuts to seniors pensions, more taxes on labour, further deregulation and privatization of state companies. The end result will be that the oligarchs and foreign creditors — who’ve either pulled most of their cash out of Greece or were bailed out by taxpayers — will swoop in and buy even more state companies and utilities at firesale prices, then fire workers and raise prices while basically collecting rents on core services that are better delivered by the state.

    Syriza presented alternative proposals along with proposals to cut red tape and improve government operations. Their proposals included increasing taxes on the wealthy, collecting back taxes owed by the largest corporations and cutting military spending, as well as forcing banks to pump money into entrepreneurial activity, instead of financial speculation. These proposals were rejected by the troika. (The IMF in particular vetoed the proposed military cuts (any guess as to why? Who controls the IMF? The US. what does the US make? Weapons. What does the IMF loan money for? ’nuff said)

    The Greek people said NO to the oligarchs and their friends in the Troika. That’s democracy. But to phony progressives like Liberals — who roll over to the interests of the wealthy — it’s not.

    • Christian Giles says:

      Agreed. It’s for all those reasons I no longer support the Liberal Party and will cast my ballot for the NDP (for the first time) this coming October. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

  5. davie says:

    My own reading of the article tells me that Bernard sees Mr Tsipras as anti democratic, cowardly, careless, confrontational, anti rule of law, anti justice, neo fascist allied, anti gay, anti Buddhist, anti Jew, anti Muslim, disobedient betrayer of the resistance against the Nazi occupation who framed an incomprehensibly opaque referendum question and stirred up mob rule.
    The article ends with the suggestion that the EU patriarchy will show mercy to the misguided Greek people.

    I encourage anyone who reads the article to also read some of the comments following; they give some perspective on Bernard Henri Levy, the article itself, and the business editors of the Globe and Mail.

  6. e.a.f. says:

    I don’t know how the current P.M. of Greece can be the problem. He just got on the job back earlier this year. Lets blame all the idiots who came before him.

    Do we really expect him and the citizens of Greece to pay for the fun and games played by the more right wing business parties. the ones who didn’t want to pay their fair share of taxes. Wanting retirees to live on about $250 a month is not a good thing. it will lead to more poverty, suicide, collapse of small businesses, etc. Best to tell the euro zone to take a leap and forget them. they will reduce Greece to ruble. if its going to be a mess might as well have the mess which creates the least possible problem for your own country. by telling the E.U. to take a hike and wait for their money, the E.U. might think twice before making these huge loans. Why bail out the banks. we saw how well it worked for the average American, when they bailed out the banks. Let them fail.

    Kelly got it right in their post.

    As to seeking support of parties which might not be so “politically correct”, well politics isn’t a clean business and you work with what you have to sometimes to get what is best for the country. if you don’t like golden dawn, have a look at Canada and its mining companies over seas. Hey aren’t they in trouble with the U.N. right now? Have alook at how Canada has treated First Nations over the past couple of hundred years. Were/are we any better than golden dawn or did we forget our own history. If you look at the state of Kansas, with their new “law” issues as an executive order from the governor, I’d ask what is the difference between golden dawn and the governor of Kansas and half of Texas/ Not much except in all of this you get to slam the NDP. I don’t blame you, that to an extent is your job, but don’t blame the rest of us to taking a bit of an exception to your comments.

  7. cgh says:

    Some of you folks really do believe in making it easy, don’t you? Anyone looking for reasons that the NDP can’t be relied on to run a national economy simply need look no further than some of the commentary on this thread. And all this nonsense to cover up the blundering statement of one backbencher. They will even go so far as to say that it’s fine to co-operate with fascists because “politics isn’t a clean business”.

    So much for the party that always claimed it was a party of principles. If you can contemplate good socialists doing deals with fascists in Greece, then you can contemplate doing the same thing here, can’t you? Harper doesn’t need help knocking down the NDP, and JT doesn’t need help getting back at least second in Parliament. All they need to do is let you lot talk and the NDP will blow up by itself.

  8. Peter says:

    Anyone who thinks the Greek referendum somehow obliged the EU and creditor nations to offer Greece a better deal should imagine what would happen if Merkel called a referendum in Germany on whether she should offer Greece better terms. “My democracy can beat up your democracy”.

    Those looking to point fingers have lots of good potential candidates. Yes, Greece was outrageously profligate, corrupt and dishonest for years and brought this on themselves. OTOH, they were enabled by northern governments and EU institutions who repeatedly punted the ball into the future, benefitted from a lower Euro and hid the truth through Euro-fudge. But many North Americans really don’t understand the dilemma. The Eurozone is a structurally flawed monetary union that will keep Greece and other weak economies unable to compensate for their relative lack of competitiveness by forcing them to use an overvalued currency they cannot devalue. From an economic point of view, Grexit combined with massive debt relief is the only apparent path that offers some hope. But politically, the union expresses the hopes of several generations for a peaceful, cooperative and prosperous Europe. To break it up, as several extremist parties advocate, would be existentially traumatic and awaken memories of a very dark past, including for Greece, which explains Syriza’s position and Greek popular opinion (debt relief within the union). Sadly, that position is both legally and politically impossible and Syriza makes it even more so with every invective, cultural insult and populist rant it utters.

    At a time when Europe needs political giants, there are only pygmies. Northern politicians hide behind humourless Teutonic technocrats muttering about debt ratios, etc. and demanding endless inscrutable proposals. Meanwhile, Syriza leaders and members seem to be getting in touch with their inner nihilists and are behaving like characters in Zorba the Greek. It’s great theatre, but anyone lining up firmly on one side of the other shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking they have the best interests of either the Greeks or Europeans generally at heart.

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